Deery urges Stute to take stride towards top flight
Institute boss Kevin Deery is confident his boys can rattle Carrick Rangers’ cage in tonight’s promotion/relegation play-off against Carrick Rangers at Drumahoe.
Stute overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Ballyclare Comrades and earn a shot at managerless Carrick in the two-legged shoot-out.
The Danske Bank Premiership club, who finished one from bottom, are still recovering from the shock news of Aaron Callaghan’s exit and the north west side can smell blood.
Institute have spent the last two seasons in the Championship, having been relegated from the Irish League’s top division in April 2015, but they are confident they can swim with the big fish again.
“We’ve had a good recovery from the Ballyclare game and the boys are ready to go again and give it their best shot,” said Deery.
“The prize is a big one and we would never have forgiven ourselves if we had let the chance to take on Carrick slip.
“A lot of hard work has been put in by this football club to bring about this opportunity and hopefully we can keep a clean sheet and cause them a few problems.
“I think last year came too soon for us and when we lost right at the death against Ballinamallard United it was genuine heartbreak but hopefully we have learned the lessons and are better equipped to do the job this time.
“There is a real focus about us and the boys are determined to show their strengths.”
Callaghan stepped down as Carrick boss and hit out at the players’ lack of professionalism — hardly ideal preparation for a crucial battle to retain their top-flight status — but Deery isn’t taking anything for granted.
“The timing of that is strange and difficult to understand but I care about what we are doing and the time and effort we have put in to get us to this point,” he added.
“We have performed well against the top sides such as Linfield and Crusaders so I wouldn’t say there’s a big gulf in quality in terms of ourselves and some Premiership sides.
“On our day we can beat anyone.”
The second leg takes place at the Belfast Loughshore Arena on Friday, also at 7.45pm.